I recently decided that it might be fun to visit different tea rooms around the Bay Area, so last week my mom, grandma, and I went to downtown Benicia to try Camellia tea room.
I do really like downtown Benicia. It’s got lots of cute antique shops, restaurants, and a bookstore. But none of us had ever been to Camellia. My first impression walking in was that it’s cute, although it isnt very “Lolita” and is fairly dark inside. I wasn’t a fan of the art but I doubt that it’s always the same.
We were all very impressed with the menu, though. In addition to standard tea, sweets, and finger sandwiches, they also serve full-sized sandwiches and a few other lunch items. My mom and I ordered the traditional tea, and my grandma had a salad and a half sandwich.
The traditional tea was fairly standard in price and quality. We each got four finger sandwiches, one bruschetta, two scones, and three deserts, plus a choice of one tea each. I chose the gyokuro, and my mom chose the Kenya tea. Both were very good, but I personally preferred the gyokuro. It had a slight sweetness to it that I loved. My grandma ordered the lavender black tea, and while I’m generally not a fan of flavored tea, I was impressed with it. It may have been my favorite of the three.
Overall impression: our server was friendly and sweet, and the food was good although not spectacular. I didn’t particularly care for the decor, but the neighborhood is gorgeous. I love that the menu had options for lunch instead of tea service, and I think that the menu combined with the more modern interior makes Camellia particularly husband-and-boyfriend-friendly compared to most tea rooms that I’ve been to. While I don’t think I’d drive back just for tea, it’s worth coming if you’re already in the area.